For me, the answer is clear: “Star Trek”. The classic series are fantastic. While I like “Star Wars,” “Star Trek “owns my heart. Although I am still watching Voyager an have not seen a single episode of “Enterprise,” “Deep Space 9” is easily my top #1 western SciFi series. It is (in contrast to “Star Wars”) aimed at grown-ups.
Yes, “Babylon 5” was mind-blowing, and DS9 was its clone. The Xero machines, however, removed all of the wrong things. For example, there is no King Arthur episode; there are no plots without end (what happened to Londo?!). When we compare the top with the top, I will put “Babylon 5” higher, but when we count in the worse episodes of the series, DS9 is on top.
When “The Next Generation” was taking its sweet time looking for footing, DS9 quickly got it.
When Voyager completely ignored the crew, who were there only for the plot, DS9 fleshed them out. Those Durak/Bashir lunches! That Jadzia or Odo plots!
DS9 takes the best thing - the real humans - from TNG and adds an excellent and engaging main plot. Yes, it’s derivative from B5, but who cares?
“Star Wars,” on the other hand, is so small. The first three movies were great on their own. However, it was a childish fantasy, and everything that came later was disappointing. Well, I can’t talk about :everything” as “Last Jedi” is so bad that I can’t force myself to watch anything after that. Although I’ve heard good things about “Mandalorian”, I haven’t seen it. Maybe someday. There is so much good Star Trek to enjoy!
“Picard,” however, is terrible. The second season was easily the worst Star Trek I have ever seen.
What else could I compare to “Star Trek”?
“Battlestar Galactica” is excellent. It may have the best characters in any western SciFi; the story is engaging. But the world is small and has no place for other stories. “Stargate” is a distant #3, but other than that? “Expanse” is mediocre at best; “Firefly” and “Dark Matter” were killed in infancy. “Doctor Who” has like a thousand missing episodes, so why even start?
“Orville”? Well, I’ll need to start it again, as I stopped watching sometime when season 1 was still new. This leaves me with “Farscape,” the muppets in space series. This is also something I need to return to.
Let’s also mention “Lexx.” The euro-soft porn version of space opera. I liked the first season - it was not something I would ever expect to see. But after that? After that, it was sometimes bad, sometimes terrible, but never watchable. Well, except for the musical episode. It was a banger.
So yeah. “Star Trek” is my number one, and nothing else comes close. In western SciFi, at least, anime is on an entirely different level.
“Out of all the stories you told me, which ones that you told me were true and which ones weren’t?” — Dr. Bashir
“My doctor, they all were true.” — Garak
“Even the lies?” — Dr. Bashir
“Especially the lies” — Garak